Indian navy combs sea after barge sinks

Published on May 18, 2021 by

The Indian navy is working to rescue scores of people from two vessels off the coast near Mumbai. Cyclone Tauktae — the biggest such storm to hit the region in decades — has claimed at least 20 lives across India.

The navy said it had rescued 177 people of the total 400 who were on the two barges in the Arabian Sea. Three of the navy’s main warships were scouring the seas as part of the rescue operations to find the dozens of people still missing.

The operations were expected to continue throughout the day in “extremely challenging sea conditions.” The two barges are owned by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation — India’s biggest natural gas and crude oil company.

Cyclone Tauktae arrived with sustained winds of up to 210 kilometers (130 miles) per hour when it came ashore in Gujarat state late on Monday.

The storm has killed at least 20 people across the states of Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Authorities in Mumbai closed the city’s airport and urged people to stay indoors. Some 200,000 people were evacuated in Gujarat, where all COVID-19 patients near the coast were moved to safer locations.

The Indian Meteorological Department downgraded Tauktae on Tuesday morning from “very severe” to “extremely severe.”

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